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Food and drink events and festivals in Scotland this autumn - from beer to oysters

From wild food to a new beer festival and cheap cocktails, there's plenty to look forward to this autumn and winter.

Published: September 8, 2023

As September is in full flow, there are many food and drink events to enjoy this month and beyond.

From a new beer festival to an oyster festival and cocktail weeks in major cities and a celebration of fizz near Christmas, there's plenty to look forward to as the nights draw in.

Here we pick some of the best food and drink events taking place this autumn and winter.

Gravity Beer Festival

This new beer festival is coming to Edinburgh this month and promises two days of beers from all over the UK.

When: Gravity Beer Festival will take place on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 September at Summerhall in Edinburgh.

What to expect: Created by the teams behind Barney’s Beer and Summerhall, Edinburgh’s pioneering arts Village, the beer festival will welcome 15 breweries coming from all around the UK.

With 60 lines of beers and ciders pouring during the four festival’s sessions, from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening.

From The Kernel to Attic Brewing, several renowned UK craft breweries have already confirmed their attendance, as well as local stars like Campervan Brewery.

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Local food trucks will be on-site to sustain all the hungry guests, and the team has announced working on a series of lectures.

Tickets: Tickets are £37.50 and are online now at the Summerhall website.

Each session includes the access to the festival, a complementary glass, and tasters
from all the brewery stalls.

Session are as follows:

  • Friday 29 September - 2pm to 5pm (trade Session + limited public tickets
    available) - £37.50
  • Friday 29 September - 6pm to 10pm: - £37.50
  • Saturday 30 September - 12.30pm to 4.30pm - £37.50
  • Saturday 30 September - 6pm to 10pm - £37.50
    For the early birds, 120 tickets at the reduced rate of £29.50 have been launched.

Stranraer Oyster Festival

food and drink events
Picture: Lisa Ferguson

This festival, which celebrates the only UK native oyster bed (located in Loch Ryan), is back and packed full of fun for all the family.

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When: The 2023 Stranraer Oyster Festival takes place from Friday 15 September until Sunday 17 September in Stranraer.

What to expect: There's chef masterclasses and cookery demonstrations, from big names such as Michael Caines, Tony Singh, Julie Lin and Felicity Cloake as well as talks and tastings, live music, craft stalls, a shuck off competition and an oyster bar.

Tickets: Tickets to attend are £12 for adults for the full weekend and £8 for concessions. Day tickets are £6 for adults and £4 for concessions. You can buy them online here.

Aberdeen Cocktail Week

This hugely popular event is back this October, and the first 20 venues have been unveiled.

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When: The 2023 Aberdeen Cocktail Week will run from Wednesday October 18 to Tuesday October 24

What to expect: Attendees are encouraged to explore the city’s thriving bar and hospitality scene by sampling exclusive cocktails while enjoying top deals. 

Four new bars have signed up for this year’s Aberdeen Cocktail Week. They include city centre venue Bartenders Lounge in Golden Square, The Firepit, from Smoke & Soul on Little John Street, Common Sense at Union Terrace Gardens, and Marischal Square’s Resident X. 

These premises, plus those still to be announced, will be shaking up a menu of special festival cocktails which will only be available to wristband holders. 

Every menu will have at least one cocktail priced at £5 available for the entire week, with the full line-up of drinks shared closer to the event. 

Tickets: Discounted early-bird wristbands are available now from £8 for the week or are priced at £6 for students and Blue Light card holders. Wristbands will increase to £12 once the remaining early-bird tickets have sold out. Find out more and buy them here.

SeaFest Peterhead

The first SeaFest seafood festival is taking place this month in Peterhead.

When: Taking place on Saturday (September 9) from 11am to 4pm at the harbour, organisers expect thousands of people to be in attendance, with a series of events taking place throughout the day.

What to expect: A new seafood demonstration from Jayson Byles of East Neuk Seaweed has been added to the rota of events, which also sees five of the north-east’s top chefs, including Kevin Dalgleish and Graham Mitchell, cooking quality seafood dishes live.

Delivering his interactive show throughout the event in the Blue Toon, festival goers are sure to leave inspired by seaweed forager, Jayson, who regularly hosts wild cooking workshops.

The ESS Kitchen will see the local firm’s culinary director of Compass Scotland and ESS Offshore, Graham Singer, lead a team of student chef demonstrations.

Youngsters will be cooking up one of the north-east’s most popular seafood dishes, Cullen skink, langoustine in garlic oil, pan fried calamari, pan fried fillet of cod or haddock and smoked scallops.

Tasters of the above dishes will be available for attendees in the ESS Kitchen marquee to try so it is advised to bag seats at the front quickly.

Around 60 different vendors will be in attendance with everything from seafood to home bakes, to confectionary, condiments, kombucha and more being served up.

The live demonstration of the RNLI and other emergency services is “not be missed” at 1pm and is one of the festival’s main attractions.

Live cooking demonstrations in both the ESS Kitchen and the Seafood Scotland Kitchen will take place, as will a fish filleting masterclass.

Local dance and community groups such as Lawrence Dance Academy, Zumba by Kate, Dancercize with Anne and Dance Joy Studio to name a few will also be performing on the day.

Tickets: The event is free to attend and family friendly.

Edinburgh Cocktail Week

Picture: Edinburgh Cocktail Week

Edinburgh Cocktail Week will return in October, for its fifth year.

When: This year's event takes place from Friday 6 October until Sunday 15 October.

What to expect: To celebrate five years of ECW, the event has partnered with 100 of Edinburgh’s best cocktail bars, speakeasies and neighbourhood pubs to offer delicious £5 Signature Cocktails.

To get exclusive access to these cocktails, customers simply need to buy one of the festival wristbands and show it at the bar when ordering.

Wristband holders can find all the cocktails within the official guide and maps to help plan their day out and navigate the best cocktail routes across the city.

Tickets: Wristband options for 2023 are as below (inclusive of booking fees):

  • Weekend 1 - £10.00 (valid Friday 6 – Sunday 8 October)
  • Weekday - £8.00 (valid Monday 9 –  Thursday 12 October)
  • Weekend 2- £10.00 (valid Friday 13 – Sunday 15 October)
  • Ten Day - £14.00 (valid Friday 6 – Sunday 15 October)

All wristbands are valid at all 100 participating bars for the full 10-day duration of the festival. Find the full list of bars taking place, and purchase wristbands here.

Fizz Feast

A celebration of fizz and sparkling wine returns to Edinburgh this winter.

When: Fizz Feast takes place over two session on the 18 November.

What to expect: Attendees can try almost 100 sparkling wines from around the world at The Edinburgh Academy at this annual, pre-Christmas event.

As well as a range of wines, food will also be available from local, artisan producers.

Tickets: Single tickets are £30 but for groups of four they are £25. Find out more and buy on the Wine Events Scotland website.

Big Feed in the Park

Big Feed in the Park

A new street food and music festival is coming to Glasgow later this month.

When: Big Feed in the Park will take place over the September weekend - Friday 22 to Sunday 24 September.

What to expect: The Kelvingrove bandstand will play host to a range of Melting Pot DJs and live performers, while the Kelvin Way, which has been pedestrianised since 2020 will be transformed into a street food and craft market, showcasing the creative talent in the city.

There are daytime sessions on Friday and Saturday from 11am - 4pm, with kids’ entertainment on the street and in the Bandstand during these daytime sessions.

Tickets: Tickets are on sale now and are priced at £12 for adults and £6 for under 16’s.

Scottish Wild Food Festival

food and drink events
Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The the Scottish Wild Food Festival provides a range of wild food with activities to encourage people of all ages to step outdoors and learn about local wild food.

When: This year's festival takes place from 16 to 17 September.

What to expect: There's everything from foraging walks to wild cocktail making, dining, bushcraft, talks, workshops and live music as well as kid-friendly events taking place over the weekend.

Launched in 2019, the Scottish Wild Food Festival is part of the Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER project and aims to encourage a better understanding of nature and our wild larder.

Tickets: There are free events and also paid workshops, which are from £5. Find out more and buy on the Scottish Wild Food Festival website.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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